How not to handle sync-up

Most of the experiences discussed throughout this blog have been based on the work we have done for Remember. This is because I think it provides the best example of how a film can quite easily go wrong. Not that you can fault anybody for trying, but the end result is certainly not what was expected.

This particular film, as mentioned, has had a few difficulties. This time I’ll discuss sync-sound. When Remember went into its edit after shooting, the editor did none of the dialogue sync. Okay, no big deal, right? Well, it actually is. It is the editors job to sync the dialogue. See Film Underground –

This then meant that the dialogue sync fell to us, more specifically, me. Not something I wanted to spend an entire day doing, only made possible by begging the editor to create me a list of shots used, not that it was all that easy to follow. I was then able to sync up the dialogue as best as I could, without any marker board getting things absolutely in-sync is pretty much impossible.

The second sync-related issue with this particular film came when we were surprised with a new cut, on the same day that the film was due to go into its final mix. Picture lock was in early March, so this should not have happened. Changes can be dealt with, and they’re to be expected, but not the day before we expect to deliver them the audio. This meant we had to rush a mix that was of an acceptable quality and deliver it to them in stem form so that the editor could sync things back up himself. There would have been no way we could have re-synced everything ourselves and delivered a final mix on-time.

After explaining this to the film group, they realised just how much work a small change creates, however they were able to sync the sound themselves for their hand-in, however we will be handing in the previous cut of the film.

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Music Composition for Film

As my learning outcomes have pointed to, composing for film is something I really wanted to explore with this project. As we have five films to work on, all of them need music. However, my input to this process only requires composition services for one of the films, Remember.

The director has been pretty adamant with what he would like for his music, however I feel as though this certainly doesn’t fit with what the film requires. With it being a very serious film, Remember, in my opinion, needs very serious music. Whilst the main ideas I have been coming up with fit certain parts of the film, for example the introduction and credits, some of the middle-sections I feel haven’t particularly challenged me.

Remember has been very difficult to compose for, purely because each time I present a piece of music to the director, it isn’t what he wants, or he just doesn’t like it. This has gave me only one option, and has forced me into sitting the director by my side for three hours whilst I compose in front of him, constantly checking he is happy with what I have written. I have done a little composition for film before, and I am almost certain that this is not the normal way this element of the soundtrack is dealt with. However, this has resulted in a fully-scored film (if you can call it fully-scored) that the director is happy with. I, personally, am not. I had a completely different vision for the films music, however I do understand that in the real world, the director will always have the final say, so I did my best to make sure that he was happy with the music he was given, even if i feel as though it doesn’t best reflect my ability, nor does it really fit the film in parts.

I would very much like to revisit some of the music, as it has all been created using software instruments, and whilst for piano, and synthesisers this works quite well, anywhere in the film that incorporates strings sounds fake to me. Performing these parts on a real violin for example, would have sounded far better. However, given the difficulty of getting the director to accept any of the music I produced meant this wasn’t really an option as the project draws to a close.

[LO4] [PO2] [PO4]

Time Management

One of the biggest challenges with this project has been managing our time. The best way we could think to combat this was to create a Google Calendar that we were all included into, to make sure that we all knew what facilities and/or kit we had booked each week to make sure that we could complete jobs quickly and efficiently.

As we had suffered early on into the project with having a series of bookings cancelled, this meant that every time we had a particular studio booked it was necessary to be there at the beginning of the booking and make sure we didn’t leave until the tasks had been completed. If this were in the real world, and we were hiring a studio, this is exactly how we would have to operate. If something doesn’t get done, it overruns into another booking, which then impacts the next job that is lined up.

For example, Remember had some of, but not all of its atmos created early into the project, however since this wasn’t completed at the time, it meant it needed to be done in another session, yet when it came to sorting it, we also had a series of Foley recordings to complete. This is something that for the entirety of the project needs to be managed, hence why we have a weekly meeting to discuss work completed and work to be completed. Anything that overruns into the next week becomes priority to be completed as quickly as possible, however it’s possible that sometimes tasks get a little rushed when this happens.

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Project Management

This project requires a lot of managing. Whether this is managing people on-set, managing the director in post or managing other people within the group, a hands-on approach has been needed at all times.

Making sure that everybody knows what they’re doing at all times has been absolutely essential, and will be as the project continues. Each week we have been meeting between ourselves and planning out the week ahead. This has been extremely beneficial as we have been able to go through each film one-by-one and discuss what has been done, and what needs to be done. In the early days of the project it was mostly about finding out where the films themselves are at, their progress in planning, in terms of locations, dates, requirements, for example. Then as the location dates started coming in we often discussed who would take on each shoot, who was booking the equipment, meeting times and locations. And now, as we’re moving into post-production with each of the films, it’s a been a constant discussion as to who is doing what on what day.

Booking facilities and equipment has been a bit of a struggle at times, as there are many people working on films outside of our project. whilst we have five films covered, they aren’t the only five films being produced by students this semester, so getting to grips with who has what booked and when has been difficult, but manageable. The amount of location recording and post-production we’ve done and and have been doing has meant a near constant use of some of the equipment and facilities. This hasn’t been helped by issues such as dates being changed for location work, or when picture lock is missed, or edits need to be made to correct errors that have been missed.

One of the key parts of managing this project is making sure the communication between director and the manager at our end is as clear as possible. Fortunately, being able to get a text message to the director for Remember has been absolutely no issue, especially when there have been problems with the actual filming. Whilst the communication from our side has been as clear as we could make it, there have been times when the director hasn’t communicated information with us. Such as springing random location dates on us for example. This could be put down to poor management on their part, however it is likely just a bit of missed information.

On top of this, emails between each of us and the film groups are forwarded and shared between us so that we’re all kept in the loop with each others films, opposed to only knowing about our own.

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